Civil Rights
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2002 Hate Crimes Report

The report is available for downloading in Adobe Acrobat format.

Executive Summary

This 2002 Hate Crimes in Florida Report, submitted in accordance with the 1989 Hate Crimes Reporting Act, contains data reported by individual local law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. These agencies reported the occurrence of hate crime incidents in 2002 under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) information system. Currently, 427 agencies participate in the UCR system, and this report is based solely on the information provided to FDLE by the reporting agencies.

The 2002 report includes data reported by 94 participating agencies, a slight reduction from the 98 that reported hate crimes the previous year. This total represents 22 percent of the participating agencies.

One year ago, the annual Hate Crimes in Florida Report showed a total of 335 reported hate crimes in 2001, including a significant increase in religion- and ethnicity-based hate crimes following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In 2002, the overall number of reported hate crimes declined by 8.7 percent from the previous year, to 306 reported hate crimes. Several factors, including variations in reporting methods, may have contributed to the decrease in the reported number of hate crime incidents, but it also appears likely that the passions of the immediate post-9/11 period subsided as Floridians adopted a more reflective approach to that national tragedy.

The 2001 report suggested that post-9/11, Florida experienced not only an increase in the number of hate crimes, but also a significant shift in the nature of those hate crimes. Throughout the previous decade, fewer than one in four hate crimes in Florida had been motivated by ethnicity or religion. In 2001, however, those two motivation factors accounted for almost half the hate crimes committed in the state. The actual number of ethnicity- or religion-motivated hate crimes in 2001 was more than two-and-one-half times greater than the average for the previous decade. In 2002, Florida saw a return to the usual levels, as ethnicity and religion combined to account for less than 28 percent of reported hate crimes. However, this was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of race-motivated hate crimes. During 2002, race-motivated hate crimes represented 52.6 percent of all reported hate crimes, followed by sexual orientation, 18.3 percent; ethnicity, 14.4 percent; religion, 13.4 percent; and advanced age, 1.3 percent.

Hate crimes are classified by two types of offenses: crimes against persons and crimes against property. Crimes against persons accounted for 72 percent of all incidents reported in 2002, while crimes against property accounted for the remaining 28 percent. This represents a shift from the prior year, when 62 percent of the reported incidents involved crimes against persons and 38 percent were crimes against property.

Caution should be applied in interpreting this data and in drawing conclusions solely from information contained in this report, as variations may exist among law enforcement agencies in how they gather and report hate crime data . It is important to note that this report does not include unreported crimes or crimes that may be hate related but are not classified as such by the local reporting agencies.

Since 1994, this office has conducted hate crimes training seminars for state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. To date, more than 2,500 law enforcement personnel from more than 240 jurisdictions have received this training.